“We`re working on better times” engineers improvements
With overall rating of 81 per cent, Lufthansa raised its flight punctuality appreciably in the course of last year.
In every single month in 2000, the airline improved on its performance in 1999 and lay above the average of the Association of European Airlines (AEA), grouping European scheduled carriers. In November, it ranked Number Two with a punctuality rating of 83 per cent, seven percentage points better than the AEA average of 76 per cent.
Lufthansa attained its biggest improvement at its major hub in Frankfurt, lifting punctuality by over 15 percentage points to 81 per cent. At its other hub in Munich, punctuality improved on a yearly average by eleven to 78 per cent. In comparison with its record at other major European airports, Lufthansa achieved its highest punctuality rating at its Frankfurt home airport even though Frankfurt has reached its capacity limit and Lufthansa aircraft were kept waiting in holding patterns for a total of 11,400 hours. Munich in an international comparison landed at Number Three. The improved punctuality of flight arrivals raised connection reliability for passengers to close to 98 per cent - an absolutely peak figure in international terms. In all, a third of all delay hours were saved in 2000.
By taking holding patterns into account in flight time, Lufthansa ensured that transfer passengers were able to catch their flight connections and that beyond flights took off on time.
A package of other measures contributed to better punctuality: These included the introduction of improved check-in procedures at Frankfurt as well as reorganisation of aircraft handling (cleaning, catering and refuelling). Interfacing with Lufthansa Technik - on aircraft maintenance, for instance - was also improved. Joint working groups were formed with the Frankfurt airport company and German air traffic to optimise existing capacities.
Lufthansa has continued to perform well on the punctuality front in 2001. In January and February, the airline returned punctuality ratings of 86 and 83 per cent. Despite its gratifiying showing up to now, Lufthansa has adopted a cautionary tone: “The improvement delights us, but our punctuality in 1999 dipped to an absolute low. A great deal remains to be done before we are back on the good level attained in 1997/98. We are still working on better times”, noted Dr. Christoph Klingenberg, Executive Vice President and General Representative Group Infrastructure at Lufthansa. Congestion in European airspace and ground infrastructure will remain central issues in 2001, he said. Infrastructure bottlenecks could again lead to appreciable delays this year, especially when traffic peaks in the summer months.